Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has paid homage to Michael Schumacher, whose record he matched today after logging the 68th pole of his F1 career.
Hamilton recorded the feat at the Pirelli Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, which also put him in the first place for Sunday’s race ahead of his Ferrari rival, Sebastian Vettel. It was Hamilton’s 200th Grand Prix.
A scintillating lap of 1m 42.553s – the fastest ever in Belgium– put the Briton ahead of the field. He ended up 0.242s ahead of his Vettel. Bottas, Hamilton’s Mercedes mate was third and Kimi Raikkonen, of Ferrari fourth.
The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth respectively, followed by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. A disappointed Jolyon Palmer completed the top ten, his Renault’s gearbox having failed at the start of Q3.
Hamilton owned the session and never looked like being beaten, but in the end it was a close-run thing between the three-time champion and points leader Vettel, after a gripping hour of action.
Hamilton on Twitter paid homage to Schumacher, whose record he had just equalled:
I'm honoured to have raced with you. Equaling your pole position record is a dream come true. I pray for you and your family all the time-LH pic.twitter.com/dtopvF5zvZ
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) August 26, 2017
Hamilton, three time FI champion, still has several records of Schumacher to beat, as the 48 year-old German is regarded as the greatest driver in the Formula One World Championships.
He is the only driver to have won seven Formula One World Championships, five of which he won consecutively.
He also holds the record for the most Grand Prix wins (91), the most pole positions (68) until today, the most fastest laps (77) and the most races won in a single season (13).
Schumacher suffered a horrible brain injury in a skiing accident on 29 December, 2013. He was placed in a medically induced coma for six months until 16 June 2014. He left the hospital in Grenoble for further rehabilitation at the University Hospital of Lausanne. On 9 September 2014, he was relocated to his home where he continues to receive medical treatment and rehabilitation privately.